“Whatever is fine”, the teacher hurriedly said and Xiang Zhe nodded his head like a chicken.
With that settled, master and disciple stepped outside. The streets were full with people wandering around and buying lunch, just as they were doing.
“There was no need for this”, Shi Yue said quietly once they were not within earshot anymore.
“Master, please lie about more believable things.”
“I’ve handled situations like these before. It’s not as if I’d die.”
Xie Yi stopped walking and looked askew at the Grandmaster. Why endure? Only so little trouble to avoid an annoying situation.
He was only a disciple and tried to avoid bothering Shi Yue if possible, so it was normal for him to hold back. But the powerful were those that ruled the world; he couldn’t understand why Shi Yue would force his image so much.
“Cultivators below the Grandmaster stage have a hard time understanding our obsessions”, Shi Yue explained. “No matter what they say, ultimately they believe it is an excuse for greed. Giving in to your obsession is considered weak.”
A glare from Shi Yue.
“...Nonsense. The obsessions are hard to control and there’s absolutely nothing wrong in allowing yourself to enjoy some benefits after working so hard to become strong.” Personal experience. He himself lost his mind whenever there was an interesting array around.
Shi Yue raised his hand and patted his disciple’s head. Xie Yi’s height growth had slowed already, but he wasn’t quite finished yet.
The little kid was his height now. The first time he had watched a person grow up; what an unusual feeling. He had once been only up to his waist.
“I can understand you thinking like this and it’s not wrong, but their thinking isn’t wrong either. I simply decided that I would control myself this much at least.” He smiled at his disciple. “It’s fine if people don’t know what I’m truly like when it comes to food.”
“But I can know?” Shi Yue really held nothing back in front of Xie Yi. He had howled like a beast when Xie Yi had half destroyed his kitchen.
“Of course. Why would I need to hide that from you?”
In fact, it was because he considered Xie Yi to be his only disciple from the start and just like his own master, he believed that a relationship between master and disciple worked the best if you didn’t needlessly hide everything.
That was the best way to build trust.
Well, he hoped that Xie Yi might interpret it a bit differently; that it was just because it was him.
In fact, Xie Yi did consider that thought for a moment and immediately discarded it. His master was simply someone who trusted his disciple a lot.
“Here’s that restaurant, I imagine”, Xie Yi exclaimed after a while. The restaurant was so lavish, it was hard to miss.
Due to its status, only people with enough money could enter the restaurant at all. Guards were placed outside, grimly watching the passers-by.
When the pair arrived, they awkwardly tensed.
The cultivators were way too conspicuous.
There was a youth with red eyes and a slightly beastly aura around him, leisurely looking around. His clothes were cut tighter than that of the usual cultivator, suiting him very well. If anything, one would think that the toned-down violet of his clothes looked too tame on him.
Next to him stood a graceful man with even more striking, violet eyes and snowy white hair. Although his robes were in the same style, they screamed “unaffordably expensive” and the general aura the man gave of was calm and gentle.
If someone tried to tell them that these two weren’t powerful cultivators, they’d laugh at them.
The two didn’t even notice the attention they were getting!
Everyone who passed by made space for them, quietly leaving a gap where they passed and carefully glancing at the two handsome men. Most of the men showed a mixture of envy and reverence, while most women appeared to simply enjoy the eye-candy.
Shi Yue and Xie Yi truly did not notice any of the stares. Xie Yi only reacted to hostility and Shi Yue was adept at toning out the gazes he was so used to already.
They might as well be standing in an empty street.
“It looks expensive, but it smells good”, Xie Yi said as he sniffed the air. “Master, let’s go in.”
“Lower your voice when you’re inside”, Shi Yue warned.
The guards made space, unnoticed by both of them again.
“Do you think they allow takeaway?”, Xie Yi obediently whispered. According to his understanding, these types of restaurants were intended to be sit down in.
“Have you ever seen a restaurant deny a high-ranking cultivator a request?”, Shi Yue replied with a smile. “Come, I’m paying - buy whatever suits your tastes.”
With shining eyes, Xie Yi walked forward to snatch one of the delicately designed cards from a table. The menu was written down in neat calligraphy, from its name over its price down to a description.
Thankfully it had a description. The names didn’t tell Xie Yi anything.
Shi Yue approached him and looked over his shoulder. No one in the restaurant reacted to it - cultivators are always acting weird, who are we, the common people, to judge? - but Xie Yi’s shoulders tensed.
“Have you found something you like?”, Shi Yue asked him quietly, also skimming the list. Some of the dishes were acceptable.
“Master, just tell me when you want to look”, Xie Yi responded, taking a large step forward and then turning around to hand the menu to his master. “I’ve got no experience, so I’ll take the same as you.”
Shi Yue nodded and waved his sleeve. A waiter almost ran to his side, straightening up and looking at them like an eager puppy. “How may I help you?”
“We’d like to order takeaway. Is that a problem?”
“Of course not! May I take your order already?”
Liar! The whole restaurant listened with deadpan faces. You rejected serving the last people who wanted to take away their food!
Shi Yue casually named a whole list of complicated dishes and the waiter nodded seriously.
“Those are all the more expensive dishes”, Xie Yi commented quietly while the waiter was going through the list one more time.
“I'm rich enough, stop looking so tense about it.”
“I'm awkward about using your money. I don't want you to think I'm a spendthrift with your money”, Xie Yi whispered back, earning nothing but a gentle chuckle and head shake from his master.
The young waiter ran off and Xie Yi tilted his head to finally look around. Wherever his gaze landed, people hurriedly lowered their heads. “Aren’t cultivators common here? Why are they staring?”
Shi Yue looked at his disciple from the tip of his head down to the tip of his shoes. “Cultivators, yes. But not ones like us.”
He wasn’t being arrogant. Shi Yue knew he was considered very good-looking, and he certainly could judge how good Xie Yi looked.
“Oh, true”, Xie Yi nodded. After all, they both had mutations and stood out a lot. (He wasn’t wrong about that.)
There was no other guest in the restaurant that had their food as quickly as they did. Packed in beautiful boxes, the waiter even offered carrying them back but Xie Yi rejected and took them.
Shi Yue had to grasp over Xie Yi’s head before he managed to take even a single box and the disciple looked adorable unhappy afterwards.
“Master, I can carry it!”
“So can I. Why are you being so obstinate these past days?” Shi Yue’s eyebrows drew together and he smiled wryly.
Xie Yi blew up his cheeks. Normally he wouldn’t mind much and wouldn’t complain if Shi Yue took some of the boxes but…
Somehow, it felt different this time. Whether it was his body language or his voice, Xie Yi couldn’t say, but his master was acting different again!
It was the same when he had insisted on carrying Xie Yi. It wasn’t like usual and the change felt confusing, so Xie Yi wanted to avoid it until he knew whether the change was good or bad.
For now he just… just felt… as if his master was treating him like a child again! That’s why he did not want Shi Yue to act like this!
“Master, a disciple carrying things for their master is normal”, Xie Yi complained. “Even I know this!”
“But it’s bulky to carry”, Shi Yue blurted out and realized that he had said the wrong thing the moment he saw his disciple’s face fall. It was nothing but a desire to pamper Xie Yi that was breaking out, but the timing was terrible.
In Xie Yi’s head, this situation translated differently.
The last two times he had gotten into trouble had been resolved by being given detention. This time, he had gotten into a bad situation again.
And now, with his master treating him like a child again…
Probably, his master had decided that since he was acting like a child1As in, constantly causing trouble, he should be treated as one?
Annoyed but unable to let it out, Xie Yi only exhaled deeply, his eyebrows lowered.
So, he’d have to endure it. If he behaved, maybe his master would stop this soon. Until then it would be uncomfortable but it couldn’t be helped.
Although not even being allowed to carry boxes, wasn’t that a bit much?!
Xie Yi returned his face to normal when they stepped into the room. The teacher had moved the table and gotten more chairs, while Xiang Zhe had forced himself up to sit.
Quietly, Xie Yi placed out everyone’s food as the scent spread.
They ate in near silence, and before Shi Yue could say anything, Xie Yi said goodnight to everyone and retreated to his room.
“I know I’m throwing a temper tantrum”, he said to Juxian as he placed the sword on a corner of his bed.
“It’s hormones”, Juxian dryly commented without changing forms. He did not mind Xie Yi acting childishly at all; it was good if the boy didn’t restrain himself if not necessary.
“Say, don’t you think there was something off about the situation with Yao Ming?”, he asked after a while of hesitation. “I don’t know, something strikes me as… odd.”
“And I know what is, but there’s a limit on how much I can interfere. Think about it. I’m sure you’ll realize.”
Xie Yi hummed in reply and leaned back on his arms to stare at the ceiling.
“Go to sleep. You will need the energy”, Juxian softly but ominously whispered into the room. Xie Yi, not realizing the tone, slipped under the blanket and tried to rest.